Tell them that you could have benefited from some career advice when you were their age and admit that you don't have all the answers.
—Robert Shewchuk, author of "Careers for Kids - How to Help Your Kids Choose a Career"
Not everyone knows what they want to be when they grow up. And these days the prospects for recent grads can be daunting.
Robert Shewchuk has built his career around helping young adults choose rewarding careers and also figure out the best way to get there.
Shewchuk is also trying to teach parents how to help, and he's written a book called Careers for Kids - How to Help Your Kids Choose a Career.
SCENE asked Shewchuk to share some of those tips:
Be Supportive Not Directive!
Reassure them that you do not expect them to follow the same career path you did. Tell them that it's OK to make mistakes and that choosing a career is not a life sentence. Let them know that they can expect to work in as many as 10 jobs within as many as three different occupations over their working lives.
Real Life Experiences
Promote real life experiences like taking on a part time job, doing chores around the house, setting up a lemonade stand, or helping neighbours in need with their yard work or snow clearing.
Encourage your children to volunteer in as many different organizations and causes as possible to both help serve the community and to learn about what interests and values they may have. Check out Volunteer Manitoba where you can search hundreds of opportunities that may be suitable to your child.
"How to Help Your Kids Choose a Career" by Robert Shewchuk (Start Smart Publishing)
Expose your children to as many careers as you can by talking about the work you and your spouse do. Have them do career research by having them ask members of your family, close friends, family doctor, dentist, etc., what they do for a living to learn the reality of what it's like to do the work they do. Career Sector Hike
Take a "career sector hike". For example, take them to The Forks and ask them to observe what people are doing for a living. Within 15 minutes, your children will be able to observe people in trades, customer service, entertainment, food service, etc. Participate In Sports & Hobbies
Enrol your children in different sports and hobbies to help them identify their interests, skills and passions. The easiest and most fun way to learn about who you are and what your talents are is found through play, not work. Generational Effect
Be mindful of the generation gap when you share "when I was your age" stories. Chances are when you were their age, the internet was just a "fad," and dial phones were still in use. Instead let them know that you were once young and had more questions than answers. Be honest and let them know that you weren't always the self-assured, responsible parent you are today. Tell them that you could have benefited from some career advice when you were their age and admit that you don't have all the answers. 100% Post-Secondary Commitment
If your teen is not 100 per cent fully committed to whatever training you are paying for, don't let them do it! Tuition costs, time, and deferred income all have to be considered when committing to any program. Students who attend university or college without knowing why and not having a career goal in mind, tend to lose motivation and are at a higher risk of dropping out.
Are They Ready?
Robert Shewchuk, author
Regardless of what your children choose to do today, tomorrow or next year, you might find that choosing a career path might not be their top priority right now. So if they are not prepared to do the work required to choose a career today, they may just not be ready yet. Robert Shewchuk launches Careers for Kids on Wednesday September 4 at 7 p.m. at McNally Robinson.